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University of Helsinki Annual Report 2004
Faculties in the campus :
Behavioural Sciences
Social Sciences
Independent Institutes:

Aleksanteri Institute
Finnish Museum of Natural
Helsinki Center of Economic
Research (HECER)
Helsinki Collegium for
Advanced Studies
Helsinki University Library
IPR University Center
Language Centre
Open University
Palmenia Centre for
Research and Continuing
Undergraduate Library

Campus key figures 2005:
Students 22 459
Staff (in person-years)
teachers & researchers 1276
total 1773
Doctor 129
Licentiate 82
Higher 1495
Lower 581

Campuses - The City Centre campus

In close-up: Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen

Temperamental research

The Faculty of Behavioural Sciences is closely engaged in multidisciplinary co-operation in the field of early childhood education. Together psychologists and educationalists study the interaction between temperament and environment and its societal consequences.

According to Professor Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen from the Department of Psychology, the Faculty reform which took place a couple of years ago made the co-operation between disciplines possible. “I’m myself surprised at how easily everything fell into place, when the new faculty was founded”, says Keltikangas-Järvinen contentedly.

Temperament refers to the individual style of behaviour and reaction, which separates individuals from each other. “In our research, we have found out that there are gene variants which predispose children to either positive or negative environmental influence”, explains Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen. “If a child predisposed to negative influence finds him/herself in a neglectful or hostile growth environment, his or her temperament can become prone to stress. In addition, the likelihood of depression later in life increases.”

The Kengu-Ru day-care project has developed research-based individual care practices, which take into account inherent differences in the temperaments of children and their effects on the children’s stress tolerance. “This is important because children experience similar education in different ways. For example, for a shy child, a day-care centre may be a great source of stress”, states Keltikangas-Järvinen. Because stress can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, it is crucial to promote the positive development of the child’s temperament from the very beginning. According to Keltikangas-Järvinen, stress tolerance plays an important role in the pressures to cope created by modern society.

The so called marginalisation project has studied the role and effect of temperament in schools. All temperament types do not fit the ideals of the school system. Because temperament has an effect on how a child studies, a temperament unsuited to the current teaching methods can at its worst cause under-achievement, biased assessments and marginalisation. “It is therefore crucial that teachers know how to take the effect of the temperament into account when evaluating how a child performs at school”, says Keltikangas-Järvinen. “The same goes for the teacher’s general attitude towards a pupil.”

Early childhood education projects are societal participation by the University at its best. The results of the projects aim at providing the best possible day care and teaching for children as well as research data to support new recommendations and laws. At the same time concrete tools, such as textbooks, educational material and handbooks for the needs of day-care centre personnel, teachers and parents are produced.

More information:

City centre campus


Events in 2005:

The Faculty of Social Sciences celebrated its 60th anniversary
The Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Helsinki had its...

Valuable map donation from Japan
The Tokyo Geographical Society donated a copy of an atlas...

Tapani Valkonen received recognition for his work
The Professor of Sociology of the University of Helsinki...

New institute studies conflict management
A new research unit, the University of Helsinki Conflict Management Institute (COMI) was...

Learning Centre Minerva was opened
The new Learning Centre Minerva in Siltavuorenpenger...

The Department of Education celebrated its 50th anniversary
The Department of Education of the Faculty of Social Sciences...